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DINING: Italian Grill is bringing great pizza to the barrier island

The best pizza in Vero has finally come to the barrier island!

On Tuesday, the Italian Grill – which has been serving wonderful pizzas at its restaurant west of town for more than two decades – opened a take-out shop in the Pelican Plaza on A1A.

This is a particularly welcome development for pizza lovers who live on the northern half of our island; until now, Italian take-out options north of Central Beach have been extremely limited.

To preview what’s in store for 32963 residents, last Thursday we paid a visit to the original Italian Grill in the Ryanwood shopping center across 58th Avenue from Vero’s Target.

This restaurant is generally packed from the minute doors open at 5 for dinner, so we arrived a little bit after 8 – when the weeknight rush begins to slow – and happily found a couple of tables open. (They don’t take reservations for parties of less than five.) We were quickly seated, and a very friendly server came by to take our wine order.

On this evening, we decided order a pizza Margherita ($7.95) as an appetizer.

This eight-inch classic Neapolitan pizza – roma tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and mozzarella baked on the Italian Grill’s homemade pizza crust – has for years been hailed by our pizza-loving companion as the best in Vero. The pie we were served last week was even better than we had remembered.

While the island’s Italian Grill Pizza & Market will not have the facilities to sauté or prepare mainland restaurant favorites such as veal “Veneto” or seafood “Pescatore,” it does plan to offer, in addition to pizzas, subs and strombolis, a limited assortment of freshly made Southern Italian entrées like lasagna, ravioli and manicotti that can be put in an oven – either theirs, or yours at home – and turned into dinner.

For entrées on this evening, we decided to sample three of the type of non-pizza dishes that will be available for takeout at the Italian Grill Pizza and Market. I ordered eggplant parmigiana ($12.99), my husband chose rigatoni “ala Grill” ($12.99) and our companion opted for eggplant rollatini ($12.99).

The eggplant in both the parmigiana and the rollatini was sliced very thin, and was topped with the Grill’s homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. My husband’s dish consisted of grilled Italian sausage sautéed with roasted peppers, onions, roma tomatoes and Italian herbs, and was served over rigatoni pasta.

The Italian Grill is known for its hearty servings, and a portion of each of these entrées went home for lunch the following day. So beyond enjoying them in the restaurant, we can attest first hand that these make excellent take-out dishes.

The Italian Grill’s Pelican Plaza outpost will be open for takeout daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no place for dining – either inside or out – so you will have to take your pizza or pasta, and enjoy it elsewhere. And at the moment, the Italian Grill Pizza and Market is strictly come and get it – no deliveries.

But if you are looking to pick up a great pizza (or two, or three) on the island, the new Italian Grill Pizza & Market at Pelican Plaza is definitely worth an early visit.

I welcome your comments, and encourage you to send feedback to me at

The reviewer is a beachside resident who dines anonymously at restaurants at the expense of this newspaper.

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